Occasionally I see people complaining about the intense second waveyness of Tamora Pierce's books - the lady warrior, the Strong Woman characters alwaOccasionally I see people complaining about the intense second waveyness of Tamora Pierce's books - the lady warrior, the Strong Woman characters always being coded in terms of masculine strength, physical strength, battle prowess - i.e., you are strong because you are succeeding in a traditional male role, usually at the expense of "weak" or "soft" femininity. But, I mean. Okay, yes, I cannot deny that all of TP's female characters who are worth a damn are decent in a fight (or show interest in becoming decent in a fight). And you can laugh a little at that - I know I have; it's almost like a drinking game (take a shot whenever someone who's never picked up a sword before muses that maybe she should start learning). But even Alanna and Kel, her two Lady Knights, who have to (to varying degrees) take up the trappings of masculinity to succeed embrace womanhood. And even if you're not sold on them, you can't say that Aly and Thayet and Sarai and Daine and Winnamine are ever expected to deny their femininity in order to claim their strengths. I don't know - I don't have the energy to go into a full scale women's studies essay on Tamora Pierce's feminism. I don't always think it's perfect, but I don't think anyone's is always perfect. And I really don't think it's as one-dimensional as her detractors would like to suggest. And besides, the sex positivity! It's maybe my favorite thing about Pierce's books, and certainly, I think, the bravest. I like to think that for each outraged Goodreads review about lax morality or whatever, there's a teenaged girl out there reading and realizing that her sexuality is okay, that she's allowed to want to have sex, that it's okay to look into birth control, that virginity is not necessarily to be taken lightly, but neither is it something to be hoarded and prized like it's the only thing of worth about her. Bless you and your politics, Tamora Pierce. I'm so glad I decided to catch up on all the Tortall books you've written since The Immortals quartet.
(This did lose a star because I am sick to death of the boring/gross white-person-saving-the-people-of-color storyline.)...more
I don't know how to rate this! There were moments that were so good, I was positive it was going to get five stars. No question. This book packs an imI don't know how to rate this! There were moments that were so good, I was positive it was going to get five stars. No question. This book packs an impressive emotional punch. But the first quarter or so threw me off, and that's a big chunk of book, you know? Can a book get five stars if that much of it feels poorly handled? I think the territory wars were a mistake - the tone is all wrong for the rest of the book (true story: I had no idea what this book was about when I picked it up on someone else's recommendation, and I wondered if I was reading something post-apocalyptic), and that intense posturing sort of peters off as the book gets better, so what was the point? I think Marchetta could write a book about teenaged war games! But this book wasn't it - for which I am grateful, because it wasn't until the divisions between the three groups were breaking down that I really got invested. So. Do I give five stars to that funny, sad, sweet book that made me cry? Do I give three stars to the uneven book that I almost didn't finish? I guess the obvious answer is to give it four, but I'm still pretty conflicted....more
Giustiniana Wynne: silly teenager (this is an observation, not an indictment - everyone should be able to be silly if they feel like it) who grew intoGiustiniana Wynne: silly teenager (this is an observation, not an indictment - everyone should be able to be silly if they feel like it) who grew into a totally smart and cutting badass. That's what I took away from this book. What is a Memmo?...more
I decided it was time to finally read River Secrets and Forest Born, so I reread this and The Goose Girl first. This book isn't really as strong as thI decided it was time to finally read River Secrets and Forest Born, so I reread this and The Goose Girl first. This book isn't really as strong as the first, narratively speaking - it lacks the shock of betrayal that drives TGG, and the plot is kind of meandering (not always a bad thing, but it's not great here), but I do love Enna herself. And I've got to give Hale credit for being willing to write a main character who does dodgy things, and owns up to them, and then, whoops, makes more mistakes. And I can't lie, I'm impressed by her willingness to write in a totally creepy and inappropriate romance (I'm always down for creepy and inappropriate romances, as long as they are acknowledged as such within the text). I think these books could have been forgettable, middling YA, but Hale doesn't pretend that fairy tales (whether her original creation or a Grimm adaptation) aren't messed up (TGG was harsh, you guys!), and that elevates them. On to River Secrets (for which I am not excited, because I find Razo impossibly annoying)!...more
And then I want to sit down with someone who has read them and drink enormous amounts of tea and talk for hours about how mI WANT TO KISS THESE BOOKS.
And then I want to sit down with someone who has read them and drink enormous amounts of tea and talk for hours about how much I love everyone and how perfectly matter-of-fact Sophie FitzOsborne is about everything and how I am feeling all the feelings in the world right now....more